Thursday, June 21, 2012

Epic Thursday...

It's Epic Thursday again, and this week I'm hosting another of my CP's Angela Parkhurst!

Her Bio:   Angela is a young adult writer, of both fantasy and contemporary . Before dedicating herself to writing, Angela spent her days on stage.  She performed in over thirty theatrical productions, as well as touring in a Broadway theatre group. Italian to the core, Angela loves God, pink (the color), music, Sister Hazel, Disney World, theatre, caffeine and dachshunds. Angela is happily married to the lead guitarist of Particle Blue. Angela is also currently seeking literary representation for her YA Fantasy, CINDERELLA'S GLASS STILETTO.  

Visit Angela at and follow her on Twitter at @angela_francis

This weeks excerpt comes from CINDERELLA'S GLASS STILETTO:  When nomad teenager Norah and her suicidal half-sister are sent to a boarding school in Germany, they’re shocked to learn that their classmates are characters from storybooks.

So without further ado, Angela's Epic Quill Scene,

After a day and a half in story book hell, I learned one thing. Princesses were total bitches.
She doesn’t look like one of us.” Jen’s heavily lined eyes narrowed in on me like a bug she insisted on squashing. She crossed one tan leg over the other, the bright chandelier in the throne room glistened against her gold stilettos. Seriously, what’s with the stilettos? Flats were much more comfortable.
I was way too tired to deal with princess drama. To top off my fabulous morning of being woken up by a gong—yep, a gong, because alarm clocks are old news—I ran into April on my way to class and she blew me off. No hello, nothing.
I agree.” Claire’s glare matched Jen’s. Lime seemed to be Claire’s color choice and her bracelet said, BELIEVE, over and over again in fancy script. Danielle told me this morning that Claire wasn’t a princess but a fairy. Figuring out “who” wasn’t hard—blonde hair, green clothes, bad attitude. Still, I didn’t know why the hell her mini-self was here and not daycare.
She’s not pretty enough.” Claire added with a tiny smirk to Jen.
I blanched and opened my mouth to tell her off, but Danielle placed her hands on her hips, not letting their doubts falter her unyielding confidence in me. “Norah is plenty pretty enough, which is why I assumed she’d be a princess. She has the cheekbones.”
And hair,” Pearl added.
And lips.”
Jen sneered, refusing to buy their compliments. “Not the fashion sense.”
Ankle boots are so last season.” Claire’s eyes bore into my Steve Madden boots, which were totally this season. I bought them before coming here. “So is paisley.”
The dress I wore wasn’t couture, but it wasn’t cheap! Man, I wanted to smack the stupid pixie in her tiny face. Black eyes suited blondes so well.
Ladies,” Danielle drew their attention back to her. “Let’s waste no more time.”
As if this school wasn’t insane enough, now they—people considered to be my peers—were going to figure out where I fit in? Score.
Danielle sat on the throne in the middle of the girls and motioned for me to sit on the lone chair in front of them.
They’d yanked me out of two classes—Transforming Princes into Frogs & Other Nonhuman Forms and Being Evil 101: How to Eliminate Moral Tendencies—classes I’d rather be in because…well, they actually sounded amusing.
A book no thicker than two inches sat on the glass table beside Danielle. The spine cracked opened and Danielle retrieved a quill. The thick, black feather drooped down, showing its age.
This quill dates back to the beginning of all fairy tales and was passed down from generation to generation to the authors of our lives.” Danielle and the girls stared at the pen as if it were a god to be worshipped, when really, it probably should’ve been tossed out. Who kept quills for so long…better yet, who even used a quill anymore? They were ancient.
These are our seven ancestors. The ones who started it all.” Danielle motioned to the mural behind them.
To me, there was nothing different. It was like every other painting hung around the school. The girls murmured in a language I didn’t understand, bowing their heads to the seven men and women painted above.
Danielle lifted the quill in the air and their murmurs grew louder. A layer of sweat coated my palm and my leg began to jitter. Without anyone touching it, the quill floated to Beth. She sucked in a breath as the tip pressed into her skin. The scent of burning flesh rose into the air, as did smoke…from her. Ohmigosh. The quill was carving words into her skin.
It didn’t take long. Less than a minute later, Beth held her arm out and spelled in blood was the name, BEAUTY. Shut.The.Front.Door.
The quill danced from arm to arm, spelling out their identities—Cinderella, Jasmine, Tinkerbell, Ariel, Beauty. Each girl took the pain as if they deserved it, as if it marked them as the person they’d soon become. Afterward, pride washed over their tired, pained eyes.
We suffer unpleasantries to show our creators love and appreciation. And now, you will, as they are the author of your life too, Norah. Today, you’ll learn your true identity. This identity will be your new life. Today, you become reborn.”
Reborn? This sounded like some freaky cult religion BS.
Danielle stepped off the pedestal and walked toward me, the quill laying flat over her palms. No way. No way I’d let her get close to me with that thing.
Before I had the chance to move, the two guards near the door advanced toward me. Their strong hands forced me down in the seat. My throat tensed, like a large golf ball was lodged inside. This wasn’t happening.
It’ll only hurt for a second, Norah.” A devious grin wiped over Danielle’s withered lips. “We own the blood to our creators.”
Yeah, but I don’t do blood well…or pain, so we need to…”
The quill leapt from her hand, taking on a life of its own. Unable to register its speed, the tip punctured my skin. I yelped and thrashed up, but the guards were stronger, holding me firm in the seat. Tears seeped from my eyes. The needle tore through my flesh, burning me like a fiery branding iron. The tip traveled, tracing different letters into my skin. A shriek soared from my mouth, a sound so unfamiliar to me, but so was blood darker than I’d seen in my life, pouring from the trail left behind.
The quill left, but the writing didn’t stop. The letters came and went, changing like the symbols of a slot machine. The faster they changed the more the pain increased. My teeth gritted together, a string of curse words flowed from my lips. Panting, I tried to grasp for air, but I couldn’t. The left side of my face numbed. The rusty taste of blood seeped into my mouth when I chewed on my bottom lip, praying for the pain to end.
And it did, like a clock striking twelve, everything froze. My vision blurred, swaying back and forth. Voices hummed like a train far, far away. The people who once held me back were gone. I gasped for a breath and stared at my arm. Nothing. No name, no words, zilch.

And don't forget, it's never too late to volunteer some of your own Epic writings.  Contact me at

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Million Suns Winner and New Giveaway...

Congratulations  Sally Michele Shaw (you should have received an email from me) for winning the copy of  A Million Suns by Beth Revis!  I hope you love the book!!!

For my newest Giveaway (which will run for 2 weeks again this cycle) we have The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.  I was actually a little afraid to read this book (because it is about Jack the Ripper, and he freaks me out), but I love Maureen so I took the chance.  Let me just say that I'm so glad that I did.  I can only hope that whoever wins this, will love it as much as I did!

You can follow Maureen Johnson at or on Twitter @maureenjohnson

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

Same rules apply, You must be at least 18 to enter (13+ with parental permission) and have a U.S. shipping address.

Ways to Enter

+1 for agreeing to the terms and agreements
+5 for leaving a blog comment
+5 for tweeting about the giveaway (you can also earn additional entries by tweeting every day.)
+5 for following me on twitter @amberafterglow
+10 for following my blog (or for already following)
+25 for linking this giveaway to your blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also check out Carrie's giveaway of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown at Where I Get Wordy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Epic Thursday...

It's Epic Thursday again, and this week I'm hosting CP Extrodinare Tristina Wright!

Her Bio: I write YA. I love Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Mythology, and kissing. If all of that is in one book, you’ve won my heart forever. Anything else you’ve read about me on the internet may or may not be true. If it involves ferrets, crochet, baking cookies, tweeting too much, toddlers, video games, or wine it’s probably true. I live directly above the center of the earth with my amazing husband, precocious daughter, ridiculous dog, a few horses and a growing baby belly.

Visit Tristina at!  

This week's excerpt comes from THE GIRL WITH THE PORCELAIN WINGS:
Eighteen-year-old Rumor never imagined the flawless statue of a young woman in shackles at the museum could be alive. But the statue is more than an object of art—she’s a Gargoyle princess imprisoned in cold marble and the victim of an ancient war between the Nightworld and the Council of Nine.
He agrees to help free the princess in exchange for protection and answers regarding his dark past and prophetic visions. While Rumor doesn’t much care for politics, he cannot deny his growing fascination with the mysterious and beautiful princess, even if siding with her kind marks him for death. But while a fierce and deadly war rages around him, revelations about his bloodline and his gift make him more crucial to the Nightworld than anyone realizes.

So without further ado, Tristina's Epic Tragic Love.

She shakes her head, dumbfounded. "I cannot believe you can rationalize this so easily. Look at you. Look at what you have become. You gave up your soul." The last sentence comes out barely above a whisper.
The muscles on the side of his jaw bulge then smooth again. He crosses the room, grabbing her shoulders and pinning her against the door. She swallows a cry as her wounds scream in hot pain and glares at him, silently daring him to try anything.
"I did this for us. For this family," he snarls.
"Family? What family? We haven't been a family in over four hundred years. There is no family. You made sure of that." Her body, ever traitorous, responds to his touch as if it had only been one day apart. A hundred images fly through her mind. In alleyways. On rooftops. In his home. In her room. In his bed. His hands exploring her in wonder. His eyes staring at her in disbelief. His hair twisted in her fingers. His lips scorching her skin. His smile. His laugh. His voice. His emotions. Everything for her—for the light he found when his future looked bleak.
His grip tightens on her shoulders. His fingers dig into her skin. A low growl rumbles in his chest, more animal than human, his eyes boring into her.
Her eyes narrow.
His mouth collides with hers so forcefully it parts her lips. He releases her shoulders and pins her to the wall with his body. She shivers as his cool palms trace the curve of her waist and the flare of her hips. His fingers find where the cloth of her shirt gives way to bare back and dig into her skin, his thumbs slipping under her shirt along her stomach.
Her hands slide around his neck of their own volition, clutching at him. The room shifts, and something comes unhinged inside, turning her ache into a need and that need into heat and that heat spills out of her in a riot of color that circles back into her and becomes fire. His body is hard and cold, the muscles corded and tensed like a bowstring. She runs her fingers over his shoulders, down his arms and up his chest, knotting his shirt in her hands. Hot against cold. Light against dark. Soft against hard. Curves against straight lines.
His lips betray a fevered urgency, almost desperate, as if he is trying to prove something to her or to himself; she cannot tell which. He presses against her harder, making it impossible for her to draw breath. She gasps into his mouth and wedges her palms over his heart—
Nothing but cold and silence. She stiffens.
With a growl, he pulls away, his hands dragging through his hair. She rearranges her features to block the torrent of emotion swirling around her as heat pumps through her veins, pooling inside her like hot wax. Her lips burn with icy heat, swollen and raw. She clutches her arms, suppressing a shiver, and berates her own lack of self-control.
"Do you still love me? Or am I now merely an obsession?" she whispers.
He glares at her. "How can you ask such a thing?"
"That's not an answer. Do. You. Love. Me." She presses her palm to his cold chest. "Here. Do you love me here? Do you love your son here?"
He gazes at her, his eyes endless pools of nothing. She drops her hand and moves away to the window. "I thought as much."
He turns to the door, then stops, his hand on the door frame. "I don't need a silly, little organ flopping about in my chest to tell me I love you," he whispers before he abandons the room, slamming the door behind him.

And don't forget, it's never too late to volunteer some of your own Epic writings.  Contact me at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vlog Contest Winner...

And the winner of the Vlog contest is, Daisy Carter, with her guess of $42.24!  What I actually spent was $41.40, so she was only $0.84 shy!  

Daisy just won one of my favorite books, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins! Please make sure that you stop by and visit Daisy at Fresh as a Daisy for her wonderful and insightful posts!  I heart her so much!

Also Daisy is currently hosting an Epic First Page Contest with her Agent Tricia Lawrence (who does not currently accept unsolicited queries) on June 29th!  This is an amazing opportunity, so go enter here.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.
When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

And in celebration of my first Vlog contest, a little something that can only be described as Awesomesauce!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Epic Thursday...

It's Epic Thursday again, and this week I'm hosting Laura Rahimi Barnes. 

Her Bio: I'm a marketing consultant, wife, mother of three, and hopeful writer of Middle Grade and Picture books with goals of being published and making a name for myself, despite my inability to self-promote. This blog is an experiment in author marketing. Watch me (and learn some tips for yourself!) as I grow myself from nobody to known. Well, that's the goal anyway ;)

You can find her blog here: 

And her Twitter here:!/LaaBWriter

Laura is also celebrating her One Year Blogoversary with an AMAZING giveaway, so stop by and enter here

Her Epic Scene comes from S.P.Y. Mission: Princess Protection
Middle Grade Adventure
37,000 words

Allison McKenzie, a.k.a. agent McKay, is the International Intelligence Agency's secret weapon: a twelve-year-old super spy. 

When the agency discovers a kidnapping threat on Tartan's bratty Princess Emma Lynn, McKay is assigned to the case. The job? Become close to the princess and discover any inside security issues. The assignment has McKay pulling out all her spy tricks and soon she's scaling palace walls and bugging parliament offices. But McKay's training didn't prepare her for friendship, least of all with the high and mighty Emma Lynn – and it’s a tricky feat for an orphan who's never had a true relationship with anyone. 

Improvising and putting all her skills to the test, Agent McKay does her best to keep her target safe and uncover who’s behind the kidnapping threat. Unfortunately, all of her lying and spying does nothing but alienate her from the princess, leaving the villain a wide open opportunity.

So without further ado, here is her Epic Middle Grade Fight Scene from S.P.Y Mission: Princess Protection.

 Again we get in position to play.  Jean-Paul signals for us to begin.  Princess Emma lunges at me with her foil.  I dodge away from the tip.  The princess is quick though and I have to do some fancy footwork to maneuver myself away from her foil.  After a few seconds I let the foil touch me at my waist. 
            “Halt!” Jean-Paul shouts.  “Point to Emma Lynn.  En Garde! Play!”
            We immediately launch into play again.  I continue to play defensive, dodging away from Princess Emma’s foil and not using my own at all.  Though the blade cannot hurt through all our protective gear, the princess lunges her weapon at me with such force that I am sure she is trying to hurt me.  I tighten my grip on my own foil and start to fling it around a little to taunt her and accidentally hit my tip to Princess Emma’s hip which scores me a point. 
            Princess Emma narrows her eyes at me and gets in position for our next play.  This time after the round begins, she attacks even more forcefully.  Seriously?  I dance backward and trip over myself, falling on the ground.  Princess Emma touches her tip to me and scores.
            Somewhat annoyed, I jump up, and get into position.  Play begins and the princess attacks, as usual. She’s not bad.  Quite good, in fact.  I am beginning to get used to her moves, though, and successfully dodge her tip again and again, which I can tell pisses her off.  I still do not attack her myself, but I do wave my foil around as if I am trying to fight.  Princess Emma, probably to goad me, swipes her foil harshly across my calf.  Ow! This does not count as a point – only a touch with the tip is scored – but the swipe stings. 
            Well, the goading worked.  Because now I’m angry.  No, more than angry – I’m flippin’ pissed.  The constant attitude from the princess and now this whole fencing situation is totally unfair.  Forget this playing nice.  I start attacking.  Princess Emma catches my change in play and nimbly moves away from my advances, and then counter-attacks.  I can feel the princess’s fury as she lunges.  I parry.  She lunges again and our foils cross.  She hits my foil again, and I meet her strike. She continues to hit my weapon and our game dissolves into sword play.
            “Halt!” Jean Paul shouts. “Halt!” but we ignore him, both of us completely lost in our fight.  I strike my foil this way and that, each time Princess Emma meeting my weapon.  Now she is on the attack and she presses me backward across the courtyard until I am nearly up against a garden wall.  Smoothly, I surprise her by ducking and rolling, and then quickly jump back to my feet.  Princess Emma’s foil hits the wall – ha, ha! – but she rapidly recovers and turns to meet my next strike. 
We hit several more times, the sound of foils clashing echoes across the courtyard.  Vaguely I’m aware of Jean Paul shouting in the background for us to stop, but we fight on, both of us skillfully attacking and counter-attacking. Princess Emma swipes me again, this time on my arm.  That little… I lower my fighting arm and meet her next strike.  Then, Princess Emma changes tactics and charges straight at me with her foil.  She hits my chest with such force, the foil bends and she loses her grip on the weapon.  The foil springs off of my jacket and flies back over her head. 
We stop, stunned, watching the foil tumble to the ground. Princess Emma looks back at me and I’m afraid she’ll come at me with her bare hands.  Instead, what she does next throws me completely off guard. 
Princess Emma begins to laugh.

And don't forget, it's never too late to volunteer some of your own Epic writings.  Contact me at

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Very First Vlog and a Contest To Boot...

I've decided to do my very first vlog, in an effort to inspire my awesome group of CP's to do the same!  I want to see their beautiful faces, while hearing their voices at the same time…what is this crazy concept?

So I've devised a plan of attack.  I'm doing my vlog with a contest attached!  The contest is this; I've purchased a total of 17 books at one of my favorite discount stores, and the only thing that you (yes you) have to do, is guess how much I actually spent on them.  The person that is closet to the actual amount will receive a book purchased by yours truly….pretty awesome right? Just leave your guess in the comments below!

And to add to the awesomeness, I'm also going to give you a couple of hints (because I'm cool like that)

1. What I would have spent on the books - $231.84

2. A picture of the books

3. A list of the books and authors, and because I'm SUPER nice, their retail price.

Now come on, I'm practically trying to let you win!

The List from Top to Bottom

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst - $7.99
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer - $9.99
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer - $18.99
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan - $8.99
Looking for Alaska by John Green - $8.99
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - $10.00
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dressen - $8.99
Impossible by Nancy Werlin - $9.99
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway - $8.99
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman - $15.99
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner - $16.99
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey - $16.99
Harbringer by Sara Wilson Etienne - $17.99
A Girl, A Ghost, and the Hollywood Hills by Lizabeth Zindel - $16.99
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder - $17.99
Across the Universe by Beth Revis - $17.99
A Million Suns by Beth Revis - $17.99

Ok the vlog….ugh…it's horrible and I'm such a nerd and I messed up a few names (double ugh) and youtube froze it on a horrible side view of my face (triple ugh), but here it is.

Contest ends Tuesday, June 12th, so get your guess in!!!

Looking for Alaska Winner and New Giveaway...

And in a surprise turn of events Angela Parkhurst wins again!  Congratulations Angela (you should have received an email from me) for winning the copy of Looking for Alaska by John Green.

For my newest Giveaway (which will run for 2 weeks again this cycle) we have A Million Suns by Beth Revis.  I haven't read this yet, but it is sitting on my TBR pile.  I loved loved loved Across the Universe, and I'm super excited to read the sequel.  I hope you are too!

You can follow Beth Revis at or on Twitter at!/bethrevis 

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Same rules apply, You must be at least 18 to enter (13+ with parental permission) and have a U.S. shipping address.

Ways to Enter

+1 for agreeing to the terms and agreements
+5 for leaving a blog comment
+5 for tweeting about the giveaway (you can also earn additional entries by tweeting every day.)
+5 for following me on twitter @amberafterglow
+10 for following my blog (or for already following)
+25 for linking this giveaway to your blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway